The show is hosted by “head nut” Mike King alongside Robert St Clinic co-director Kyle Macdonald and has spawned a successful show on Maori TV as well as a Facebook page that attracts more than 500,000 visits each week.
Ingo’s role is to provide an expert opinion and advice on topics covered by guests, phoned in by callers, or raised by either Mike or Kyle over the course of the two-hour show. But because Ingo also has a phenomenally wide range of experience both at an international level and here in New Zealand, he is also perfectly placed to tell his own stories about how mental health is dealt with in different communities.
As well as being a registered clinical psychologist with 20 years’ experience, Ingo also works with Manawanui Oranga Hinengato (Maori Mental Health Services ADHB), is a member of the American Psychological Association Psychoanalytic Division, is on the committee for the New Zealand branch of the International Society for the Psychological Treatments of Schitzophrenia and other Psychoses, and is a member of the NZ Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine Association.
Having lived and trained in both Germany and South Africa, Ingo is also able to draw on the unique experiences of having trained to become a sangoma – a South African shaman – including going through the extremely painful spiritual initiation ceremony and investigating the techniques and practices carried out during a sangoma trance state.
In recent weeks on The Nutters Club Ingo and Kyle have discussed psychosis and schizophrenia – including the fact that between 3% and 15% of the population hear voices that don’t disturb them and are therefore not psychotic and the danger of different methods of diagnosing schitzophrenia.
“It’s a psychotic episode,” Ingo stresses. “People aren’t mad all the time so let’s get away from this notion that you are it – rather you are someone who also has a psychotic episode, you still stay a person.
“Just because you have pneumonia, we don’t say you are pneumonic, and that’s why I think that saying someone is schitzophrenic isn’t very useful. It’s unfai to the person and it labels them in a very painful way.
“It’s not a matter of finding out how to make voices disappear, but of finding a way to relate to them so it’s not a battle.”
In another show Ingo and Mike discuss post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with Kiwi author – and ex NZ soldier, policeman and bodyguard in Iraq – Dion Jensen. As well as listening to Dion discuss his book, The Good Side of PTSD, Ingo is able to talk to a woman who phones in to the show to discuss her daughter’s traumatic response to spending a long time in hospital.
Both Kyle and Ingo’s approach to discussing mental health relies on an open and honest appreciation of individuals and a broad questioning of their industry – especially how clinical therapy works alongside medication as treatment.
“What I’d love to see more is a little bit more respect for the knowledge that we don’t know,” Ingo says.
“We’re probably in the Middle Ages when it comes to our understanding of mental health – we’re guessing and assuming lots of things.
“We need to be truly more honest and more honest with the clients – because although there are quite a few psychologists who are, there are clearly some who are not and quite a lot of the industry that’s not honest about what medication can and can’t do.
“So I’m often more concerned about notions like a certain mental illness is a genetic thing and so someone will have to take medication for life and then be written off – these notions are really intolerably wrong statements and are incredibly disrespectful to both the clients and also to the science.”
To listen to The Nutters Club, tune in to Newstalk ZB at 11pm on a Sunday night – or to find out more about Kyle and Ingo’s range of services at Robert St Clinic, call us on 09 973 5950, email us via
email@example.com or leave a message via the website.